Marriage is the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a sacred union in Islam . Islamic culture tries very hard to safeguard the family and its stability. In the first place, it tells us that we should be very careful when we want to choose our mate. It also gives us a clue as to what characteristics and traits we should be looking for in a spouse .
Secondly, Islamic culture teaches us that an atmosphere of love, cooperation, and forgiveness should reign over every Muslim family, so much so as the Prophet of Islam said, “The best of you are the best-tempered ones with their family.”  Tolerance and compromise is the one vital element of any lasting relationship.
But, no matter what, it doesn’t always keep that way; there are cases in which both sides lose their sense of compromise. One may argue that divorce is not considered lawful according to many Christian views. Nevertheless, its practice by many Christians today shows its irresistibility!
In such cases, the only way to avoid a split is to refer to authority. There should be one person in every group who holds the authority over the group when a dangerous confusion and conflict shows up. But that one person had better keep silent, compromise, and go along with others’ decisions in other than those rare occasions!
In the first step, the husband is that authority in the family, maybe because he is the one who has to provide for the family.
"… The wives have rights similar to the obligations upon them, in accordance with honorable norms; and men have a degree above them, and Allah is all-mighty and all-wise." (Quran, 2:228)
Of course, there is not a tiny difference between man and woman in Islam in the eyes of God; no matter what the gender, the more pious has a higher degree before Him. But as they form a group, an authority is irresistible. Just as we say that there is no difference whatsoever between the president of a country and a simple worker in the eyes of God. Still, the worker should submit to that authority to prevent confusion!
The very verse suggests that it’s not like, men have more rights in the family while women got more duties and responsibilities. No, a wife has as many rights as she has obligations. It also suggests that the husband must treat his wife honorably and respectfully.
If things get worse and this approach doesn't work anymore, we should move on to the next step; that is, a higher authority!
"If you fear a split between the two of them, then appoint an arbiter from his relatives and an arbiter from her relatives. If they desire reconcilement, Allah shall reconcile them. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware." (Quran, 4:35)
This is actually a very tender council since the two elders are closely related to the spouses and try their best to come up with the best possible solutions for them. The couple, too, are willing to conform to their decision. Going to a marriage guidance counselor is an updated version of or an alternative to this council!
The council might conclude that a divorce is the only possible way for the couple to solve their problem. Sometimes, it’s simply impossible for the couple to go on!
Yes, Islam allows divorce and remarriage, but, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said:
“There is nothing loved by God more than a construction built in Islam by marriage, and there is nothing loathed by God more than a house which is destructed in Islam by separation.” 
It is also narrated that:
“A divorce shakes the throne [of God],”  and “God has not allowed for anything loathed by Him more than divorce!” 
If we think badly of divorce in Islam, it will become our last gasp. But if we do not have a negative outlook on it, separation would be the first thing that comes to the mind at the time of difficulty; “Why should I take all this when I can easily get rid of it?!”
But a mature and broad view suggests that the fruits of that relationship are worth bearing those unpleasant events. Separation is, therefore, inevitably lawful and at the same time very much abhorred in Islamic teachings:
"Consort with them [your wives] in an honorable manner; and should you dislike them, maybe you dislike something while Allah invests it with an abundant good." (Quran, 4:19)
Now, when it comes to separation and divorce in Islam, each side might think that “I got nothing to do with her or him anymore, and so, I can get my revenge on them!”
Of course, many Muslim scholars hold that every woman can state in her marriage contract that she, too, has the right to get a divorce, either generally or under certain circumstances. But, since Islam has basically put the husband in charge of divorce, the Quran commands men over and over that they should honor women, especially when it comes to divorce; if the union is not possible, you must at least have an honorable separation!
These commandments are even in some cases followed by divine threats for those who ignore them:
"When you divorce women and they complete their term [of waiting], then either retain them honorably or release them honorably,…" (Quran, 2:231)
"For the divorced women, there shall be a provision, in accordance with honorable norms—an obligation on the Godwary." (Quran, 2:241)
"If you desire to take a wife in place of another, and you have given one of them a quintal [of gold], do not take anything away from it. Would you take it by way of calumny and flagrant sin?!" (Quran, 4:20)
"… and should they be pregnant, maintain them until they deliver. Then, if they suckle [the baby] for you, give them their wages and consult together honorably." (Quran, 65:6)
And finally, God comforts both sides by saying that, if a divorce is the only way for them and going on with their marriage is much more harmful to both sides than profitable, they shouldn’t worry about its financial consequences:
"But if they separate, Allah will suffice each of them out of His bounty, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-wise." (Quran, 4:130)
The Chapter of “Divorce” in the Quran is also full of merciful verses, which are meant to soothe both parties which are hurt by the inevitable separation.
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 15, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2, p. 22
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 49, 50, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2, p. 37,38
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 171, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2. p, 47
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 16
- Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 197
- Al-Kafi, vol. 11, p. 464, Sunan Abi Dawud, vol. 2, p. 254
Imam Sajjad (AS) enumerates the rights of parents in Islam, specifically the mother in ‘Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq)’, based on her efforts, such as how she withstood the difficulties during the pregnancy, the care and protection she provided after giving birth to the baby, the selfless sacrifices she made so that her child could grow up in the most comfortable condition and with the best education.
Then, Imam (AS) invites to show gratitude to the mother, but he adds in the end that one cannot reciprocate what she had done unless God helps him to succeed .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) admits that one can never (repeats this two times) pay back the rights of the mother; even if he attempts as many times as the number of the raindrops and the desert sands of the world to pay her back for only one of the days that she had carried him in her womb during the pregnancy, he will not succeed .
The rights of the mother among parents in Islam are even known to be superior to those of the father  since it is said that: “If you are performing a recommended (mustahab) prayer (which is a kind of talking with God and being in His presence requires certain reverence) and your father calls you, do not break your prayer but if your mother calls, break the prayer”.
In this regard, it is narrated that a man, who claimed that had committed every possible sin, asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) if he could still repent or not. Prophet (PBUH&HP) questioned if either of his parents was alive. He answered, his father was. Then, Prophet (PBUH&HP) advised him to go and treat him well. A while after the man left, Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: “if his mother was alive [he would certainly have the opportunity to repent]” .
These, along with other Quranic verses and narrations (Hadiths) highlight the importance of parents in Islam and especially mothers’ rights; something that can never be returned unless with divine providence.
One of the rights of the father is to recognize him as the root that has given existence to his children. Whenever one is proud of him/herself for a blessing, he/she should remember that he/she has inherited it from his/her father. Hence, one should praise God and thank him for what He has granted him .
Imam Reza (AS) said: “offer your property, honor, and life to your father since you have received them from him. Do good to him and ask for the blessing and forgiveness for him after his death” . It is good to know that the amount of the father’s right in his child’s property is as much as it is sufficient for daily meals, without any dissipation, and only in case of need .
Gaining God’s satisfaction: “whoever his parents are satisfied with, I am satisfied with him/her” .
Long-lasting life: “Whoever honors his parents, will live a long life” .
Receiving good deeds from their own children: “honor your parents, so your children will honor you” .
Easy death: “Whoever honors the parents, God will ease his death” .
Being rewarded the highest levels in Heaven: “one, who gives Infaq to his parents, tolerates them, is beneficent to them and does not upset nor harm them, will be placed in the best levels of Heaven” .
According to Islamic teachings, not only mistreating parents in Islam is insolence to them, but also includes ignoring their rights, disobeying them in what is permissible and disrespecting them . It is known from Islamic teachings that:
Even if one’s parents have done something unfair to him, he is not allowed to look at them with a sharp, angry gaze. Otherwise, even a single prayer (Salat) of him will not be accepted .
Insolence to parents is one of the major sins and is Haram .
Prophet (PBUH) has warned about the consequences of Insolence to the parents by saying that the sweet smell of heaven will be sensed from a thousand years of distance but does not reach those who have been insolent to their parents .
It is essential to know that one may gain the satisfaction of the parents when they are alive, but will be readily insolent to them after their death by ignoring their rights like not paying their debts, not praying for them, etc.; and the other way around .
[i] (2 :83), (17:23), (4:36), (6:151), (31:13-14).
[ii] Doing prayer (Salat) and fasting (Swam) in place of parents, especially after their death, is highly advised in Islamic teachings. This is due to the importance of having respect for parents and these two Islamic practices. This also helps to maintain the emotional links between children and parents, even after their death.
[iii] Praying for parents and asking mercy on them is a duty on children that is emphasized in the Quran and Islamic narrations. If parents have committed some sins or have sometimes been disobedient, praying for them might be beneficial to them.
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Silatur-Rahim or preserving family ties is not limited to visiting relatives, but also includes trying to satisfy their needs and strengthening emotional bonds with them. This depends of course on the situation of each member of the family; one might require money while the other has emotional needs .
Some of the examples of Silatur-Rahim are: visiting relatives; greeting and honoring them; inviting them even to a cup of coffee or tea; giving them good advice in case of a problem; not harming them by talking behind their back, insulting or accusing them, or by interfering in their personal affairs; being kind and caring about them; visiting them when they are sick; giving them gifts in different occasions; fulfilling their needs before others do, and participating in their funerals . Imam Sadiq has(AS) said: “… The best family tie is the one in which the relatives are not harmed” .
Upholding kinship with relatives has various advantages in this world and the hereafter:
Having the social and emotional support of family: In Surah Hud, where people threaten Prophet Shu’ayb (PBUH), they tell him if his tribe had not supported him, they would have stoned him (11:91).
Imam Ali (AS) said: “Upholding family ties brings affection and humiliates enemies” .
Having an immediate reward: Imam Baqir (AS) said: “The reward of Silatur Rahim is given more quickly than any good deed” .
Increase in wealth: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Whoever keeps family kinship, God will love him and increase his wealth” .
Having some of the sins vanished: Imam Ali (AS) said: “Eliminate your sins by a voluntary charity and keeping family ties” .
Having an easy death and a long life: When Prophet Moses (PBUH) asked God about the reward of upholding family ties, the answer was: “(Whoever does so,) I will postpone his death, I will make his death easy, and the heaven angles will call him to enter heaven from every door he wishes” .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever keeps family kinship …God will make his life longer and let him enter heaven” . Imam Baqir (AS) said: “Keeping family ties purifies one’s deeds, increases his wealth, keeps him safe from disasters, makes the accounting of his deeds easy and postpones his death” . Imam Sadiq (AS) said; “Silatur Rahim makes lives longer …, even if doers are not righteous” .
One cannot sever family kinship deliberately since upholding family bonds is a duty ordered by God, hence, the disobedience from this order is of the major sins (al-Kaba’ir) .
In Islam, the warnings against severing and breaking off family bonds are as many as the exhortations to uphold family ties. That is due to the disastrous consequences that neglecting and severing family ties can have on one’s life; these include:
Having a shorter life than it would be: Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “a man might have 33 years of his life left, but God will shorten it to 3 years if he breaks family ties” . In another narration from Imam (AS), negligence of family bonds is known as “a sin that perishes a man quickly” .
quickly receiving a punishment, Imam Baqir (AS) said: “four sins cause quick punishments … (one is) breaking family ties” .
Being cursed by God [i] and deprived of his mercy: “But as for those who ... sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, … it is such on whom the curse will lie, and for them will be the ills of the [ultimate] abode” (13:25).
Being doomed to the hell: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “the sweet smell of heaven will be sensed from a thousand year of distance but those who have been insolent to the parents and those who have broken family ties will be deprived of it” .
One’s prayers (Dua) will not be accepted anymore after severing family ties .
One’s good deeds will be rejected: Imam Rida (AS) said: “whoever sever family ties, he does not fear from God (does not have Taqwa), his good deeds are therefore refused and will face grave punishments in this world and the hereafter” .
Cutting family ties has several reasons, but lack of modesty and greed are known as the two main ones. Imam Sadiq (AS) said that: “Some would not have respected parents’ rights and kept family ties if modesty had not existed” .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has warned about greed: “Beware of greed, for it was greed that commanded those before you to bloodshed and severing their family ties” .
[i] (2:27), (13:25), (47:22-23).
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